John is friends with Norton and Dennis before meeting Lorraine. They take her on as the fourth friend in their group and include her in drinking beer with them in the cemetery at a place called Masterson's Tomb. John and Lorraine seem to relate to one another a little better than they do to Norton and Dennis, so they keep the fact that they have become friends with an old man named Mr. Pignati a secret. They also don't trust Norton and Dennis because of their shady characters. Dennis isn't as bad as Norton, but Lorraine says in chapter four that both boys are "disturbed." John, on the other hand, doesn't mind Dennis too much, and even invites him to their party in chapter 13 because he knows that Dennis will deliver alcohol and behave appropriately.
Lorraine, however, has more to say about Norton, which sheds more light on his character as follows:
"Norton has eyes like a mean mouse, and he's the type of kid who thinks everyone's trying to throw rusty beer cans at him. And he's pretty big, even bigger than John, and the two of them hate each other" (23).
In addition, John says that Dennis and Norton are "demented" in chapter five because they believed a lie that John told them during their prank-call game. John lied to them because if Norton found out that they were going to collect $10 from Mr. Pignati, he would try to get more out of the old man. Eventually, Norton stalks John and Lorraine and finds out that they visit Mr. Pignati quite a bit. He wants to know if there is anything worth stealing from the old man and John gets so upset that he doesn't invite Norton to the party. Therefore, Dennis isn't as shady as Norton, and he's not as demented. Norton, though, is a selfish, violent character with criminal intentions.